75. What are zero-day exploits, attacks, and threats and why are information security policies so important?

Zero-day exploits and attacks are essentially attacks that exploit vulnerabilities within computer systems. More specifically, it’s an exploit that takes advantage of a security vulnerability on the same day that the vulnerability becomes generally known - hence, the attack occurs on "day zero" of awareness of the vulnerability - I.T. personnel have had “zero” days to address and correct (i.e., “patch”) the security issue. As far as how long the vulnerability has been known is a different issue altogether, it only becomes a zero-day exploit when the unknown vulnerability actually turns into an attack. You’ll find slight interpretations and variations of the definition of zero-day attacks, so for an ounce of clarity - and simplicity - remember the following: Zero-day vulnerabilities are vulnerabilities against which no vendor has released a patch.

A common misconception is that all zero-day exploits are from unknown vulnerabilities - which is not true - as software developers are readily aware of issues, but either simply neglect to correct them or are unable to. In either case, whether they’re known or unknown vulnerabilities, vendors have to work incredibly hard and fast in correcting the issue once they become widely known to the general public.

Information Security Policies are Critical for Security and Patch Management | Download Today

One of the most important practices for information security in today’s world of cybersecurity threats is patch management - applying security fixes in a timely manner for all critical system resources. A well-documented security patch management policy and procedure is therefore a must-have for any organization serious about information security. What good are patch protocols is little to no documentation exists guiding such practices? The same can be said for vulnerability management, configuration management, and other defense-in-depth and layered security measures.

The industry leading set of operational, business specific, and information security documents from FLANK is what organizations need for documenting one’s I.T. practices. Containing literally hundreds of policies, procedures, forms, checklists, templates, provisioning and hardening documents - including patch management, configuration management, and vulnerability management templates - our documents have been professionally developed by industry leading I.T. experts.